The seventh pillar of recovery is compassion. Compassion has been defined as a feeling “that arises in witnessing another’s suffering and that motivates a subsequent desire to help” (Goetz et al., 2010, p. 351). Compassion refers to understanding, love and acceptance of others who are struggling. Self-compassion refers to experiencing these feelings for self.
In the context of Harm OCD, compassion towards yourself is critical to recovery because self-compassion does not make you indulgent and selfish. When you are triggered, you may feel like a horrible person and may want to find proof that you are not what your Harm OCD tells you, in a manner that will satisfy you. You may understand in moments of clarity that your feelings about yourself may be unreasonable and your conclusions may be faulty, but the distress may seem real and incapacitating. At that moment, you need to engage in self-compassion for going through the struggle. You deserve self-compassion for struggling to make sense of your thoughts and feelings. If your struggles make you feel ashamed of yourself because of your thoughts and what you put your family through, you need to stop judging yourself poorly and show yourself some love, while managing your behavior towards your family. Often, your harm thoughts may also make you want to punish yourself and you may end up engaging in self-harm. Even during such times, understanding that your harm thoughts are a result of your disorder and being more compassionate towards yourself is needed.
In the Worksheets for Harm OCD file, there is another psychometric test provided called the Self-Compassion Scale (Neff, 2003) in PT6. Take the test and note your self-compassion levels. The ready reckoner sheet will show you the dimensions of self-compassion and where you stand on each of them. Being more aware of your levels of self-compassion will be the first step towards making changes to improve the levels and help you recover faster.
To-Do: Complete PT6 – SCS provided in ‘Worksheets for Harm OCD’